On Maundy Thursday Her Majesty The Queen came to Leicester Cathedral to complete her Maundy Visits to English Anglican Cathedrals. The Royal Maundy Service is a tradition from Medieval times, when the Sovereign washes feet and gives alms to the poor. This is a service of the Chapel Royal, and our cathedral was hosting the event which is led by the Lord High Almoner with music that includes singing from the Chapel Royal Choir.
From early morning the crowds along the route gathered along the route the Queen and Duke and the would be taking, particularly round the large screens to where the service would be relayed. Press and TV from around the country gathered in Cathedral Gardens, while the recipients met at the King Power Stadium before being ‘bussed’ to the cathedral. Each of the 182 recipients brought a companion and they all, with the invited guests including representatives of other faiths, cadets, cathedral congregation, arrived at the cathedral in time for the various processions to take place before Her Majesty arrived.
The Queen, wearing dark jade green, arrived in sunshine, was greeted by the Dean, Bishop and Almoner (Bishop John Inge from Worcester), introduced to the Cathedral Canons, then processed to the prepared seats in the sanctuary. During the service two music directors and three organists were joined by a combined choir and three trumpeters to sing and play beautiful music, with ‘Zadok the Priest’ being a significant highlight.
The recipients of the Maundy money made their way back to the King Power Stadium for a lunch hosted by Bishop Christopher. Some of those who had received Maundy money shared the story of their lifelong Christian service with us, and you can watch them on the Diocesan YouTube Channel. One of these stories features below:
On Maundy Thursday, April 13th 2017, the Royal Maundy Service, at which Maundy Money is distributed by Her Majesty The Queen, will be held in Leicester Cathedral.
The Service, an occasion rich in tradition and history, will take place at 11.00am. Maundy Money will be distributed by Her Majesty to 91 men and 91 women from across the city and county, who are on or over the age of 70 and who have given long Christian service to Church or community.
This Service has been hosted in all Cathedrals across the country during the Queen’s reign, apart from Leicester Cathedral – we are the last one to host it!
Canon Alison Adams, Sub-Dean, says, “Her Majesty The Queen visited us at the start of her Diamond Jubilee celebrations and we are proud to welcome her back. This will be a great celebration of faithful service to the community from both the City and County of Leicester.”
There will be an Exhibition at the Cathedral entitled, Servant, featuring photographs from the event from 17 April to 3 May. The exhibition will be free and open daily (excluding services and events).
Here are just a couple of the stories of those receiving Maundy money on Thursday…
Royal Maundy Money recipients Michael and Diane Bird are devoted to the church – and that runs in the family.
The couple, from Loughborough Road, Quorn, have been actively involved at St Bartholomew’s United Church for more than 50 years.
Their children have also taken a spiritual journey. Their son, Nick, is a rector of four parishes in north Yorkshire, their daughter, Liz, married the son of a Methodist minister, and the Birds’ other daughter, Martha, is a nurse who is also heavily involved in church work
Diane, 78, said: “Both of our daughters will be our companions on the day as Nick will be extremely busy in his parishes, as you can imagine, with Holy Week events. I know he’ll be thinking of us – and we will too.”
Michael, 77, said: “We were both very surprised by the recognition. The church has been a very important part of our lives and one of the most satisfying aspects has been the work we’ve focused on with children.”
The couple have been Sunday school teachers and youth group leaders and have been part of a team which runs assemblies at St Bartholomew’s C of E School, including dramatized and costumed stories from the Bible.
Michael worked in the knitwear industry and then as a lecturer in business management while Diane trained as an almoner – which resonates with the Maundy event – as she pursued a career in hospital social work at both the General and Glenfield hospitals in Leicester.
The couple said that they were pleased to play a role in the joining-together of the Methodist and Anglican churches in Quorn back in the 1970s. They are both Methodist stewards who were also confirmed into the Anglican church – a fine example of that union.
David Warner’s long connections with church life involved him taking up a new challenge – at the age of 82.
Six years ago, David, a longtime supporter of St James’ Church in Newbold Verdon, took up bell-ringing.
He said: “I’d heard that it was impossible to take up bell-ringing at such an advanced age, but I went to a workshop at Peckleton and really took to it.”
They don’t ring bells at Newbold, but David regularly rings at Market Bosworth as well as attending weekly practice at Sutton Cheney, also St James’.
When David receives his Maundy money on Thursday, April 13, David says his thoughts will be very much with his late wife, Eileen, who passed away two years ago.
He said: “Eileen was very devoted to the church and my thoughts will be with her, she would have loved it and would probably have received the Maundy money rather than me. She introduced me to the church.”
David has held a number of key positions at Newbold, including roles as treasurer and churchwarden, a role which involved a lot of responsibility, particularly, at a previous time, when the church didn’t have a rector.
He said: “Part of the role was to ensure that our weekly services went ahead and that other activities continued. It’s very important to keep that continuity during a period of transition and I’m delighted to say we managed to keep the attendances high.”
David, former chief accountant at Caterpillar at Desford, was also accountant at Launde Abbey and had a passion for cricket having been involved at the former Winchester club in Leicester for many years.
Like many of the recipients, Maundy Thursday will be the first occasion when David has met the Queen. “I did attend the 60-year anniversary of the end of the Second World War at Horse Guards Parade when the Queen was in attendance but that was the closest I’ve got to her until now.”
The Revd. John Dawson says being chosen as one of the 182 people receiving Maundy money from the Queen was ‘totally unexpected, but delightful all the same.”
Born in Worthington, north-west Leicestershire – where he still lives – John served this parish, along with Isley Walton and Breedon-on-the-Hill, for more than 21 years as a self-supporting priest combining a career in pharmacy, including the development of anti-cancer medicines.
He said: “I tried to help people in whichever way was needed. I offered spiritual support and then helped to point them towards practical help as appropriate.”
Back in September 2016, John, 74, took on a new role as chaplain at East Midlands Airport and says: “I’m there to provide a Christian presence not only to passengers but for the many, many people who work at the airport, including hotel and freight company staff.”
John and his wife, Val, have also been involved with Mercy Ships, a not-for-profit organisation which delivers free medicine and healthcare across the coast of Africa.
Mercy Ships is one of the world’s largest hospital ships in the world with three wards, including 90 beds with operating theatres, dentists and opticians.
The Dawsons also went out to Sierra Leone with Mercy Ships on a hospital project which saw John organising a pharmacy in downtown Aberdeen, a poor suburb of the capital, Freetown.
The couple have two children – Jane, who is a Special Educational Needs co-ordinator and teacher, and James, who is a barrister and employment judge. The couple have four grandchildren.
Canon Alison Adams Maundy Preparation Updates